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  • Colombian national riot police points gun at student on the University of Cundinamarca campus Thursday, located in Soacho near Bogota. Sept 4, 2019

    Colombian national riot police points gun at student on the University of Cundinamarca campus Thursday, located in Soacho near Bogota. Sept 4, 2019 | Photo: @WILLYCARMONAM

Published 4 September 2019
Opinion

Over 100 Colombian riot police stormed a university campus located outside Bogota during a peaceful protest, firing shots, tear gas and detaining serveral students. 

At least 12 students were injured and another 20 detained Wednesday morning when Colombian riot police stormed the University of Cundinamarca and began beating students protesting on campus. 

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Video of the police beating young students and forcing them into police vehicles are circulating on social media. The footage also shows heavily armed police beating the students with batans and tear gassing them. One image shows a bullet wound to the leg of a male student and another police officer holding a gun on a student at close range. 

A statement made by Colombia’s National Higher Education Student Union (NHESU) reported that around 100-120 police entered the campus and “indiscriminately began grabbing students...and shooting their guns into the air, and some students were hit by stray bullets.”

The students had been peacefully protesting inside the public university that specializes in science and agronomy against the administration and potential defunding.  

At this time students of the UDEC in Soacha denounce violence by police officers. I call for calm, do not abuse force and protect the safety of the students. We will clarify the facts soon. (tyranical government)

Local media, Uniminuto Radio, however reported that the police entered the campus allegedly because several “hooded men” ran onto the campus during the initial protests at the Soacha extension of the university located just east of Bogota. 

The NHESU says it blames the Soacha mayor, the director of the national police force, the nation’s minister of defense and President Ivan Duque for the “violent” incident. 

They go on to denounce the “human rights violations” that suddenly took place on the sovereign campus Wednesday morning.

“We urge the respect of fundamental human rights from the university authorities and for an investigation on the incident to begin,” says the NHESU that also says the state must “preserve the right to organize and protest.” The student union is demanding the country’s ombudsman to provide legal guarantees to the detained and the injured. 

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